Holiday Baskets a smashing success

The Holiday Baskets Program, a totally volunteer project, was once again a joyful community effort.

This program has provided new gifts and food to those in need in our valley for over 30 years. This year we served 251 families (1,041 individuals). People are referred to the program by social service agencies and are then “adopted” by individuals, businesses, city and county employees, schools, the faith community and other groups.

The response this year was particularly generous with many people and groups in our valley volunteering for the first time. We received many wonderful donations of toys, money, clothing, blankets and gift cards, as well as volunteer hours. We had lots of energetic help on Kids Wrap Day!

We are grateful for grants from the Thrift Shop of Aspen, the Aspen Elks Lodge, the Aspen Rotary Club and the Marten Foundation, as well as support from the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and the Aspen Board of Realtors. We also appreciate those businesses that allowed us to put our collection jars on their counters.

While it is not possible to individually thank everyone who contributed to the success of this program (we estimate we had over 350 volunteers!), there are several people who deserve special recognition. Neal Batson, Elaine Bonds, Marsha Cook, Kathy Dreher and Elizabeth Parker spent many, many hours and lots of energy matching families with Adopting Angels and making sure all the gifts were ready on pickup days. We also are grateful to Christ Episcopal Church for providing space in which to coordinate and assemble the thousands of gifts.

It was heartwarming to observe so many people in our valley participating in this project with such love and generosity and it was truly joyful to see the happy faces of the recipients when they received their gifts. As one mother wrote in a note, “Thank you for putting big smiles on my children’s faces for Christmas!”

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Anne Blackwell

Chairperson, Holiday Baskets